Smith cards two eagles for narrow lead from star-studded Tournament of Champions field

By Sports Desk January 06, 2022

Australian Cameron Smith holds a one-stroke lead after the opening day of the PGA Tour's calendar year-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Thursday.

Smith carded an eight-under-par 65 which included two eagles along with five birdies and one bogey to claim the lead ahead of three players including world number one Jon Rahm on seven under.

Rahm is tied with American pair Daniel Berger and Patrick Cantlay following rounds of 66 in good conditions.

More than half of the 38-player field broke 70 in the conditions, although Grand Slam winners Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth (both 71) and Justin Thomas (74) were not among that group.

Top-ranked Rahm and PGA Tour Player of the Year Cantlay were both returning to competitive golf after several months off and made fine transitions.

The Spaniard had seven birdies and no bogeys in his round, while Cantlay started with a bogey but finished in style, with four birdies and an eagle in his final five holes.

Berger might have shared the lead with Smith if not for a bogey on the penultimate hole, having made five birdies on his front nine.

Erik van Rooyen, Kevin Na and Sungjae Jim are six under, while world number two Collin Morikawa and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka are among five players at five under.

Top 20 trio Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele and Hideki Matsuyama are also not far off the pace after opening rounds of four-under for 69.

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    Tiger Woods rebounded from a disappointing opening round at the US PGA Championship to post a 69 on Friday and make the cut, even if he admitted "it wasn't pretty".

    Woods was even par through the front-nine on his second trip around the course, and birdied the 10th to move to one under, but a double-bogey on 11 after a run-in with a bunker threatened to end his week early.

    The double moved him to five over for the tournament, with the cut-line at four over, meaning he needed to go under-par over the last seven holes.

    He did just that, birdieing the par-five 13th hole to move onto the cut line, and converting another birdie on 16 to give himself some breathing room. His late run included six consecutive one-putt finishes leading up to the 18th.

    Speaking to ESPN while still dripping with sweat, Woods said he embraced the grind down the stretch, and had some optimism for the weekend.

    "I knew what the [cut-line] number was – I just needed to go out and do it," he said.

    "I started off the back-nine exactly how I wanted to – made birdie at 10 – and then I almost whip-hooked it there on 11 and made double, and next thing you know I'm outside of the cut-line.

    "I had to grind and go to work, and I did, and made it. Hopefully this weekend I can get a hot weekend with some tough conditions, and you never know."

    When asked about the ways he is limited by his injuries, Woods did not shy away from it, but said his mission is still to win.

    "There's a lot of things – but it's just the way it is," he said.

    "Over the course of my career I've used my hands quite well, and relied on feel and hitting shots. When you're out there it's just about hitting the ball the right number and getting it done.

    "There's a mission – the mission is to go ahead and win this thing somehow. I know sometimes it doesn't exactly feel well, but that's just what it is. That's life, that's sports. 

    "We push it, and sometimes it breaks, but that's okay. You get back out there, and that's why I've got great PT staff.

    "I'm really good at breaking things, and they're really good at fixing things, so it's a great relationship

    "It wasn't exactly the way I wanted it to be – it wasn't pretty. It wasn't what Bubba [Watson] is doing out there right now [tying Woods' course-record of 63]. But hopefully I can do that this weekend."

  • US PGA Championship: Will Zalatoris takes outright lead into the weekend, Tiger makes the cut US PGA Championship: Will Zalatoris takes outright lead into the weekend, Tiger makes the cut

    Will Zalatoris took advantage of the friendlier conditions later on Friday to finish his round five under, giving him the outright lead at nine under through two rounds at Southern Hills Country Club.

    He is the only player to shoot 66 or better in the first two rounds as fellow fast-starters Rory McIlroy and Tom Hoge both finished over par their second time around the course.

    Zalatoris went bogey-free, birdieing the first hole, the 17th, and three consecutive starting on the 11th. While the conditions were conducive to scoring, both of his playing partners – Cameron Smith and Victor Hovland – shot even-par 70s.

    In outright second place at eight under is Chile's Mito Pereira, who was one shot off the round-of-the-day with his six-under 64, leaving him at eight under through two rounds. He had seven birdies – including back-to-backs on holes four-five and 10-11 – and just one bogey on 12.

    Justin Thomas posted his second consecutive 67 to have a share of third place at six under, and he is one shot ahead of Bubba Watson, who shot Friday's best round of 63 – tying the course record – with nine birdies and two bogeys. He sits alone in fourth.

    Tiger Woods was in danger of missing the cut after a double-bogey on the 11th moved his score to five over, but he responded in terrific fashion.

    Showing his quality, Woods one-putted on the next six greens for two birdies and four pars to leave him one shot inside the cut-line (four under) heading onto the 18th. With a par on the last, he finished his round one under and earned two more rounds of action.

    First-round leader McIlroy is in a share for fifth af four under after his round of 71, and he's tied with Mexico's Abraham Ancer and America's Davis Riley.

    England's Matt Fitzpatrick and American Stewart Cink are one further shot back at three under in a tie for eighth, and there is a logjam at two under, tied for 10th, highlighted by Cameron Smith, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Kuchar.

    A strong grouping of Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau and Jordan Spieth are part of a large contingent at one over, with Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm a further stroke back after they posted scores of 67 and 69 respectively on Friday.

    Jason Day is tied with Woods at three under, while at four under Collin Morikawa and Hideki Matsuyama just did enough to qualify for the weekend.

  • Abraham caps memorable debut Serie A season with a slice of history Abraham caps memorable debut Serie A season with a slice of history

    Tammy Abraham capped a memorable first season in Serie A with a slice of history as Roma defeated Torino 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico on Friday. 

    A first-half double saw Abraham become the highest-scoring English player in a single season in the Italian top flight, surpassing the previous mark of 16 set by Gerald Hitchens at Inter in 1961-62. 

    The only Roma player to score more than the England international's haul of 17 in a debut Serie A season with the club was Rodolfo Volk, who registered 21 in the 1929-30 campaign. 

    Abraham has also found the back of the net nine times in 13 appearances in the Europa Conference League this season and is hopeful of capping a memorable campaign with a victory in the final against Feyenoord on Wednesday. 

    "I would have loved to get three, to score a hat-trick for my team, but the most important thing is we won," he told DAZN. 

    "I fell in love with this club on the first day and I'm always going to help the team as much as possible with my goals and assists. It's been a good year for me. I'd like to build on it and hopefully we can finish with a trophy and this will be the perfect year." 

    Asked if he will stay at Roma, Abraham replied: "I love this club. They've given me the opportunity to show myself and my heart is here. We'll see what the future holds but my heart is here." 

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